Porn Is No Liberator

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A proliferation of pornography on the Internet has set up a debate about the effect on young women: Is in-your-face sexuality empowering, allowing girls to act like boys, or does today's hypersexualized society lead to more mental health disorders for girls?

Consumer Internet usage tracker "comScore Media Metrix" reports that more than one third of American Internet users visited sites in the "adult" category this April.

One of the Web's less admirable accomplishments is that it has allowed porn to propagate to a point once thought unimaginable. In the 1950s, could 1 in 3 Americans have visited a pornography shop? Of course not. But now it's accessible in your house, on your street, at your local Internet cafe, etc., to wit, much more accessible. That doesn't mean it's good.

And pornography abounds elsewhere—from the soft-porn scenes in Oscar-winning movies such as The Last King of Scotland to magazine advertisements, billboards, etc. Critics say hypersexuality on and off the Internet has created a society obsessed with sexual exhibition and the attention it brings.

The effects, however, are anything but liberating for women, particularly for the young women claiming its mantra as something that empowers them. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, a visit to nakednews.com will explain all. The site was recently written up in USA Today. Some young women who take part in on-camera nudity and soft porn say they find it liberating and empowering. But a recent American Psychological Association study shows sexualized images of women can lead to emotional and mental disorders in girls including depression and eating disorders.

I'm all for women's advancement, but I fail to see how pornography plays a role therein. As to the argument engaging in public sex acts and nudity "empowers" women, this is one woman who just doesn't "get it." Are male porn stars "liberated," or do they seem like pathetic souls willing to do anything for a buck?

And since when did "acting like men" come to mean advancement for women? Women's advancement is about equal opportunity, most particularly in the workplace. It's not about imitating men or becoming like them, andthat goes double for not imitating bad male behavior.